Freedom of movement for EU immigrants will end in March 2019

by Ray Clancy on July 28, 2017

It is looking increasingly likely that there will be a transition period in the UK for immigration between the date the nation leaves the European Union and the date it takes over control of migrants.

However, the freedom of movement that is currently in place will end in March 2019 with workers from the EU moving to the UK after this having to register until a permanent immigration policy is put in place.


The Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that there will be ‘no cliff edge’ when it comes to immigration when Brexit happens in March 2019 and she has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine and report back on what is best for the UK.

The study will look at the labour market, the overall role of immigration in the wider British economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

However, the report will not be delivered until September 2018, just six months before Brexit actually happens and business and industry says this will leave employers not being able to plan ahead in terms of workers from the EU and also leave those wishing to move to the UK not knowing what is going to happen until the last minute.

The MAC has been asked to focus the study on patterns of EU and EEA (European Economic Area) migration, considering regional distribution, skill levels, industry sectors and the role of the self-employed, part time, agency, temporary and seasonal workers.

‘Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to take control of immigration from the EU. We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally,’ said Rudd.

‘But, at the same time, our new immigration system will give us control of the volume of people coming here, giving the public confidence we are applying our own rules on who we want to come to the UK and helping us to bring down net migration to sustainable levels,’ she pointed out.

‘The study I am asking the Migration Advisory Committee to complete is a major step in ensuring we create a system that works in the best interests of the country,’ she explained, adding that there will be an implementation period when the UK leaves the EU to ensure there is no ‘cliff edge’ for employers or EU nationals in the UK.

However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said businesses urgently need to know what EU migration would look like, both in any transitional period after March 2019 and beyond.

‘The immediate priority is securing agreement as soon as possible with the EU27 on UK and EU citizens’ reciprocal rights, which will help the negotiations progress quickly to future trading arrangements,’ said Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director general.

‘Workers from across Europe strengthen our businesses and help our public services run more smoothly and any new migration system should protect these benefits while restoring public confidence. Given the importance of mobile skills and labour for the UK economy, firms will want the review to move at pace and include the views of all sectors,’ he added.

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